More confusion with new Z-scores
July 24, 2012
The Z-score crisis took another twist yesterday when several students found that their Z-scores had changed after they were calculated afresh based on a Supreme Court ruling. After the new Z-scores were released, the district and island rankings of students who sat the 2011 GCE A/L Examination under the old syllabus had dropped drastically whereas the rankings of those who had followed the new syllabus had improved with better prospects for university admission.

It is learnt that the affected students were planning to take legal action over this change in the Z-scores with another group of affected students having complained to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka yesterday.

Earlier, the Z-scores were calculated based on the old and new syllabuses being a single entity. This system of calculation was challenged in the Supreme Court by teachers, parents and students. The Supreme Court directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to recalculate the Z-scores on the basis that the two syllabuses were different entities. The Department of Examinations released the new Z-scores on Sunday.

Sri Lanka United Teachers Association President the Ven. Yalwela Pannasekara Thera said the Colombo district ranking of a Colombo Mahanama College student had dropped from 33 to 48 under the old syllabus in the Arts Stream. Ven. Thera said at the school he taught, the district ranking had dropped from 56 to 70.

“The new Z-score rankings were calculated under the correct methodology. Therefore, they are more acceptable. Yet, there are students with better rankings under the previous calculations. They too had hopes of gaining university admission. Now, they will be deprived of university admission. We ask the Higher Education Ministry to increase the intake for the next academic year to accommodate all those who had qualified under both the systems of calculations,” he said.

The Galle district ranking of H.L. Chaminda Umesha of Southland Girls’ College had improved to be the first in the Arts Stream though according to the previous calculation of her Z-score she was placed second in the district. She said she was happy over the change in her rating.

“I am planning to be a lawyer and serve the country,” the student said. Danasri Thamaramali Kasturiarachchi a student from Kalutara, said her Z-score rating had dropped from 1.8383 to 1.4666 in the Kalutara district.

“My district ranking has changed from 50 to 263. I planned to apply for the Law Faculty. Now, I cannot do it. I, along with other students affected by the change of results, will seek legal redress again. Also, we will complain to the Human Rights Commission,” she told Daily Mirror.

The Z-scores of Nuwanthika Madusani Jayakody who sat the exam in the Kalutara district said her district ranking had dropped to 56 from 42, and therefore, her hope of entering the medical faculty was shattered.

“My Z-score has changed from 2.1994 to 1.9364. I passed the A/L exam with three distinctions,” she said.

Senior Professor R.O. Thattil said the previous Z-scores had been nullified and therefore, students should not compare them with the new Zscores.

Prof. Thattil who introduced the method to calculate Z-scores of A/L students seeking university admission, said the new method of calculating was correct.

“It is incorrect to compare the two calculations now that the previous calculation has been declared null and void,” he said.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka